How far are we from the fasting of the ancestors!

Since 2012-11-22

The righteous ancestors had glorious states and noble degrees concerning fasting. These states indicate their realization of the importance of this act of worship for cultivating souls, purifying hearts, establishing determination, controlling whims and getting rid of the evils of desires.

 

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
 
All the praises and thanks be to Allâh, Alone. Prayers and peace of Allah be upon him after whom there is no other Prophet, our Prophet Muhammad, and upon all his family and companions.
 
The righteous ancestors had glorious states and noble degrees concerning fasting. These states indicate their realization of the importance of this act of worship for cultivating souls, purifying hearts, establishing determination, controlling whims and getting rid of the evils of desires. This leads to the rank of piety, which is the most superior rank of the slaves [of Allah]. Allah Almighty says, {O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious} [Surat Al-Baqarah 2:183]
 
{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ} البقرة: 183
 
Transliteration: Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo kutiba AAalaykumu alssiyamu kama kutiba AAala allatheena min qablikum laAAallakum tattaqoona
 
During fasting, they strongly endured hunger and thirst and they abandoned prosperity and fullness hoping for the reward mentioned in the verse where Allah Almighty says, {Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.} [Surat Az-Zumar 39:10]
 
{إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُم بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ} الزمر: 10
 
Transliteration: innama yuwaffaalssabiroona ajrahum bighayri hisabin
 
They preferred the happiness of the Hereafter to the happiness of this worldly life. Thus, they won the two kinds of happiness together. The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said, “There are two pleasures for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his lord.” [Reported by Muslim]
 
«للصائم فرحتان: فرحة عند فطره، وفرحة عند لقاء ربه» رواه مسلم
 
They preferred the One and Ad-Dayyân (the One who decides the fate of people), so, He made them enter Paradise through Ar-Rayân Gate. When the last one of them enters, this gate will be closed so that no one other than them can enter via this gate.
 
O you who seek salvation and winning on the Day of Judgment! The following are the news of the righteous ones of the nation of Muhammad, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him. Therefore, let it influence your life. let those people be your example in your way and journey to your Lord and to the Hereafter, and Allah is the One who grants success.
 
 
The abundance of the fasting of the ancestors:
 
Abû Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, used to fast much. It was reported in Sahîh Muslim that the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said, “Who among you has observed fast today?” Abû Bakr replied, “I have.”  [Reported by Muslim]
 
«من أصبح منكم اليوم صائما؟ قال أبو بكر: أنا» رواه مسلم
 
Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said, “‘Umar did not die except after continuing fasting.” [The authentic book of Musnad Al-Fârûq: 1/285]
 
‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, used to keep fasting.
 
The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, divorced Hafsah bint ‘Umar, so, when he came into her room, she wore her veil [as he is not her husband anymore]. The Prophet said, “Jibrîl (Gabriel) came to me and said, ‘Take Hafsah back (to be your wife), for she frequently fasts and prays in the night and she is your wife in Paradise.” [Al-Albâni said that it is nearer to the degree of the good hadith in the authentic series: 5/17]
 
«جاء جبريل فقال لا تطلقها فإنها صوامة قوامة وإنها زوجتك في الجنة» قال الألباني رتقي إلى درجة الحسن في السلسلة الصحيحة برقم: 5/17
 
Nâfi’ said, “Even when Hafsah died, she was not breaking her fast.
 
Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “During the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, Abû Talhah used not to fast much because of participating in battles. When he, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, died, I have not seen him breaking his continuous fasting except on Al-Adhha or Al-Fitr Days.
 
Az-Zahabi said, “He continued fasting after (the death of) the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him.
 
Ibn Abû Malîkah reported, “Ibn Az-Zubayr used to fast seven successive days and comes on the seventh day while he is the strongest among us.
 
His mother, Asmâ’ bint Abû Bakr, said about him, “He was used to frequently praying the night and frequently fasting the day. Moreover, he was called the dove of the mosque.
 
When ibn ‘Umar saw him crucified, he said, “Peace be with you, O Abû Khybayb! By Allah, you were used to keeping on fasting, frequently praying the nights, and observing the ties with your kinship.
 
Hanash ibn Al-Hârith said, “I saw Al-Aswad ibn Yazîd when he lost one of his eyes because of [too much] fasting.
 
 
The cold bounty
 
Abû Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “May I not guide you to a cold bounty?” The people present asked, “What is it?” Upon which he replied, “It is fasting during winter.
 
 
Observing the soundness of their worship
 
Abû Hurayrah and his companions used to sit at the mosque whenever they are fasting and they used to say, “We do this to purify our fasting.” How far are those who sit for watching T.V. channels or who sit in the assemblies of backbiting and evil doings! How far are they from those companions!
 
 
The advice of Abû Dharr
 
Abû Dharr, may Allah be pleased with them, used to say, “O people! I am an adviser for you and I am sympathetic with you. Pray at the dark nights to be prepared for the gloominess of the grave. Fast in this worldly life to be saved from the heat of the Day of Resurrection and give charity for fear of a Hard Day.” Similar words were reported on the authority of Abû Ad-Dardâ’, may Allah be pleased with him.
 
 
Why do they cry?
 
Qatadah reported that when ‘Amir ibn Qays was on the verge of death, he kept weeping. He was asked, “Why do you cry?” He said, “I do not do it for fear of death not for caring about life but I weep for missing the thirst during the hot days [when fasting] and for missing praying at night during winter.
 
‘Amir ibn ‘Abdullah cried at the moment of death. He was asked, “What makes you cry?” He replied, “This is death which is the aim of those who strive [in the way of Allah]. Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. By Allah, I do not cry for fear of death but I cry for missing the hotness of the day and the coldness of the night; he means fasting and praying at night. Indeed, I seek the help of Allah for my death before Him.
 
One of the ancestors greatly wept at the time of death. When he was asked about this, he said, “I do not weep over something except that those who fast will fast and I will not be among them, and those who pray will pray and I am not among them. Moreover, those who utter remembrance [of Allah] will do it while I am not with them. This is what made me cry.
 
O dear brother! This is what makes them cry. What about what makes us cry?
 
 
Why do you torture that body?
 
Al-Aswad used to fast during travelling till his color changes because of thirst at the hot day. ‘Alqamah asked him one day, “Why do you torture your body?
 
He replied, “I seek relief for it.” He meant the complete relief on the Day of Judgment as it was said, “Whoever seeks relief [in the Hereafter] should abandon relief [in this worldly life]
 
 
The fasting of ibn Sîrîn
 
Ibn Shawthab said, “Ibn Sîrîn used to fast one day and breaks his fast at the next day. At the day when he was not fasting, he used to have launch without having supper then he took his Suhûr (light meal before dawn) then he fasts.
 
 
Hiding the fast from others
 
It was reported that whenever Ibrâhîm ibn Adham was invited to have food with someone, he ate even if he was fasting. This was instead of declaring that he is fasting.
 
Dawûd ibn Abû Hind fasted for forty years without telling his family. He was a sewer and he used to take his food with him [while going to work]. He used to give this food as charity then when he returned home at night, he used to have his breakfast with them.
 
Zâ’idah ibn Qudâmah said, “Mansûr ibn Al-Mu’tamir fasted for forty years along with praying at night during those years. He used to cry during praying at night. His mother used to ask him, “Have you killed someone?” He replied, “I know best what I have [wrongfully] done to myself.” When he reached the morning, he darkened his eyelids with kohl, oiled his head and glossed his lips and went out to people (to hide the traces of worship of the previous night.
 
How far are those great ones from the one who fasts only one day and wishes if all the people on earth know that he is fasting. We ask Allah to grant us sincerity and purity of intention in our sayings and deeds.
 
 
The best kind of fasting
 
It was narrated that ‘Awn ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Utbah said, “The best kind of fasting is to abstain from four things: food, sins, forbidden acts, and breaking your fast from charity.
 
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Awn used to fast a day and break his fast the other day, and so did Ibrahim An-Nukha’i.
 
 
The precedence of people concerning prayer and fasting
 
Shafiy ibn Mâti’ Al-Asbahi said, “Two men may be praying while their shoulders are next to each other. However, the difference of their degree is like the farness between heavens and earth. They may be at the same house and fasting together but the difference of the degree of their fasting is like the farness between heavens and earth.
 
Oh! Woe to me
 
Ash’ath ibn siwâr said, “I entered upon Yazîd Ar-Raqashi at a very hot day. He said, “O Ash’ath! On the Day of Thirst, we will weep for having the cold water [in this world]. Then he said, “Woe to me! The worshippers have gotten ahead of me and I am hopeless.” He said this although he fasted for forty-two years.
 
 
A lesson from Mu’âdh ibn Jabal
 
‘Amr ibn Qays narrated that Mu’âdh ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with him, was stabbed and the stupors of death were overcoming him. Whenever he restored his consciousness, he said, “By Your Majesty, You know that my heart loves meeting You. O Allah, You know that I did not like staying alive for digging rivers nor implanting trees but it was for striving for hours for You, bearing thirst at the day during fasting and approaching scholars at the sessions of remembrance.
 
 
He dies while fasting
 
Yazîd ibn ‘Abd Rabbuh said, “I accompanied my uncle for visiting ibn Muslim Abû Bakr ibn Abû Maryam when he was at the last moments before his death. I said to him, “May Allah have mercy on you! Would you just have a mouthful of water?” He made a sign of refusal by his hand. When it was night, he asked, “Has the call to prayer of Maghrib passed?” We replied in the affirmative and we put a drop of water at his mouth then he died, may Allah have mercy on him.
 
 
The states of the shepherds (common people) of the ancestors
 
Nâfi’ narrated that ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, walked at some places at Medina with some of his companions. They prepared a food table for them then a shepherd passed by them. ‘Abdullah said, “Join us!” The man replied, “I am fasting.” He asked him, “Are you fasting at such a very hot day and while you are herding in the mountains?” He replied, “By Allah I hasten to this before days pass.
 
Rawh ibn Zanbâ’ narrated that while travelling, he stopped at a place and when it was the time of his launch, he saw a shepherd. He said, “Come and eat with me.” The shepherd replied, “I am fasting.” Rawh said, “Are you fasting at that hot day?” He replied, “Should I leave my days pass in vain?” Rawh said, “You did not accept to waste your days in vain when Rawh ibn Zanbâ’ did not care about them.
 
O dear brother!
 
This is the case of their shepherds so what about the ancestors themselves? This is the understanding of their public so what about their scholars?
 
 
Horses cannot run when they are fat
 
‘Atiyyah ibn Qays narrated that some people of Damascus came to Abû Muslim Al-Khawalâni who was a conqueror of the land of Byzantines. They found a hole dug by him underneath his tent, and he put a leather rug in the hole. He poured water into that leather rug and it was kept there as long as he is fasting.
 
People asked him, “What makes you fast while you are travelling and that Allah Almighty has permitted you to break your fast during travelling and during fighting?
 
He said, “If there is fighting, I will break my fast so that I can be strong for fighting. Horses do not achieve goals when they are fat but they run better when they are thin. There are days coming, for which we should work.
 
 
The ancestors and the wisdom of fasting
 
Someone of the ancestors was asked, “Why was fasting legislated?’ He said, “It is to let the rich feel the taste of hunger so that he will not forget the hungry.
 
 
The altruism of the ancestors
 
Ibn Rajab said, “Many of the ancestors used to give some of their food for breakfast or sacrifice all of it for others and continue the night starving.
 
Ibn ‘Umar used to fast and he never had his breakfast with someone other than the needy. Whenever his family prevented him from doing this, he did not have supper this night.
 
Some of the righteous ancestors desired some kind of food while he was fasting. This food was brought to him upon his breakfast. He heard a beggar saying, “Who is it that who would loan [Allah] the Self-Sufficient a goodly loan?” He replied, “His slave who does not have good deeds will do.” Then he stood, took the food for him, and slept while starving.
 
A beggar came to Imam Ahmad, while he was fasting; nevertheless, he gave him two loaves of bread, which were prepared for his breakfast. Then, he kept starving and continued fasting until the following day.
 
Al-Hassan used to feed his brothers when he was performing optional fasting. In addition, he used to entertain them while they were eating.
 
During travelling, ibn Al-Mubârak used to feed his brothers various kinds of sweets and other things in spite of being fasting.
 
May the peace of Allah be upon those souls, and may His mercy be on those spirits. There is nothing left concerning them except news and stories. How far is the distance between those who do not give others their due rights, and those who are the people of altruism!
 
Do not mention us along with mentioning them
The healthy man is not like the ill while trying to walk.
 
 
Prepared by the Scholarly Section in Dar Al-Watan
 
 

 

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